The 10 Magical Breweries to Visit in Portland, Maine
Maine is a magical place. One full of gushing rivers, emerald green forests, stunning national parks, and even white sandy beaches. And to top it all off, its largest city has a legitimate claim to "Beer Capital, USA."
Portland, ME, should be on any beer lover's bucket list. With a vibrant bar scene and a city overflowing with incredible breweries, it's an easy choice for a beer destination.
And why we chose the city as the spot for the return of our fifth annual women in craft beer festival, Beers Wit(out) Beards, in-person for the first time in two years.
On Saturday, April 9th, 2022, Hop Culture will host BW(O)B at Brick South in Portland, ME.
In 2018, Hop Culture Managing Editor Grace Weitz conceptualized the first Beers With(out) Beards as part of her graduate school thesis capstone project at NYU. And over the past four years, this celebration of women in beer has grown to attract thousands of attendees and showcase hundreds of women-led breweries.
This year thirty-five breweries will be pouring that are either women-owned or owned by femme-identifying people, or that have women or femme-identifying people in prominent leadership positions.
Many from Portland's own backyard including: Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing Co., Rising Tide Brewing Company, and more.
To celebrate the return of this groundbreaking event in-person, we're taking a look at the top-rated breweries across Portland.
Portland's excellent food and drink scene has never been a secret, but whatever gems may have been hidden were unearthed when Bon Appetit named Portland its restaurant city of 2018—a very well-deserved distinction.
The beauty of a city like Portland, Maine, though, is that it never stops growing. Sure, your favorite little Portland joint may have blown up overnight, but there's going to be a new crop of hotspots just around the corner.
And we're not sure it can get much better than eating a lobster roll and drinking an Allagash White after a day of standup paddleboarding or hiking.
If you're looking to take a trip to The Pine Tree State, tag any of these 10 top-rated breweries in the Untappd app to visit.
*The list shows the top breweries, based on our weighted average formula, which effectively rates all breweries against each other and gives weight to their beers with higher rating count. A brewery must have at least 1,000 ratings and at least 5 beers in their portfolio to qualify for this list. For more information on our rating system, please view our ratings explainer.
Untappd's 10 Magical Breweries in Portland, ME
1. Bissell Brothers Brewing Company - Bissell Brothers' IPAs have become trendsetters in the New England IPA scene. No Portland visit is complete without a stop at the Bissell Brothers' brewery. A healthy balance of dank and juicy, the Bissell Brothers influence is felt throughout East Coast hoppy beer.
Plus, the brewery stands for more than just dope beer. Following many conversations on diversity and inclusion in the beer industry, the women of Bissell Brothers decided to brew a beer meant to inspire similar conversations around breaking through barriers in the industry. Released in August 2021, Something Of Ourselves is a light rice lager perfect for, as the brewery writes, "refilling over thoughtful, engaging conversation." Beyond the beer, Bissell Brothers recently started a paid production internship program to help promote diversity in the industry. For these reasons Bissell Brothers will also be joining Hop Culture at Beers With(out) Beards 2022.
2. Belleflower Brewing - This family-owned, small-batch craft brewery put down roots in Portland in March 2021. The brewery speaks to a neighborhood crowd with long picnic tables in its outdoor beer garden, a floral mural displayed on the brick wall, and hip music pulsating out of the speakers.
Co-founders Nick Bonadies and Zach Page actually met while volunteering to help build Trillium Brewing Company's taproom in 2012. Eventually, Page joined Trillium, learning the ropes under head brewer Adam Goodwin. And two years later in 2014, Bonadies came aboard as the director of development, reuniting with Page.
Now at their own spot, the duo kicks out silky hazies, brilliant IPAs, and other styles featuring local ingredients from the beautiful state of Maine. Belleflower may be one of the newer kids on the block in Portland, but one stop into their sunny taproom to sip on their equally sunny beers, and you'll feel like this joint has been here for years.
3. Goodfire Brewing Co. - One of the fairly newer additions to Portland's beer scene, Goodfire has just about mastered the haze game. Although you can expect a tasty lager or two on tap too, which is exactly what you might need after sampling your way through Portland's breweries.
Food is never far away either; you'll find the city's best food trucks popping up in the taproom and slinging handrolls or sandwiches.
Goodfire shares a building with Lone Pine, another standout Portland brewery (and No. 8 on this list), and is a short walk from the new Austin Street location. Allagash (No. 9 on this list) may have set the tone for craft beer in Portland, but Goodfire is carrying the torch into the next generation.
4. Definitive Brewing Company - At Definitive, founder and CEO Mike Rankin strives for perfection. In fact, the name of the brewery serves as a reminder that while beer may never be perfect, the quest for perfection in and of itself makes for an incredible drinking experience.
Here, you'll find a brewery pumping out well-crafted pale ales and IPAs and superior stouts and sours.
Plus, the taproom also sits across the street from Allagash, so make a day of it and brewery hop to your heart's content from Definitive to Goodfire to Allagash.
5. Battery Steele Brewing - Less than a hop, skip, and a jump from Austin Street's Industrial Way taproom (No. 6 on this list), Battery Steele offers a steady stream of IPAs that will jump start your juice-loving tastebuds. For example, Flume Cubed, a pumped-up version of their revered double IPA Flume. This version amps up the volts as a triple IPA with loads of Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic.
That's just one of the outstanding beers you can expect from the brewery started in an old barn in South Portland by founders Jacob Condon and Shane Noble.
Besides IPAs, Battery Steele also brews pale ales, pilsners, stouts, and lagers.
With two fantastic breweries in one location, visit Industrial Way for a day of epic Portland taproom hopping.
6. Austin Street Brewery - Austin Street has quickly (and relatively quietly by today's standards) become a top-tier brewery. And they've done so by brewing quality, consistent beers. Because they've grown so rapidly, Austin Street opened a brand new Fox Street location in 2018. The second location might be the most aesthetically pleasing brewery in Portland. Swing by either location for fresh Anodyne or Rally, two standout Austin Street beers.
Austin Street will also be joining Hop Culture at its fifth annual Beers With(out) Beards.
7. Foundation Brewing Company - A staple in the Portland beer community since 2014, Foundation Brewing started as a brewery celebrating good people and good beer. That after all should be the foundation for any thriving community! The core lineup here consists of an IPA, a DIPA, a brown ale, and a pilsner. What could be considered the building blocks (or…foundation) of any great tap list. Work your way through the classics or walk off the beaten path for some of the brewery's limited beers such as Bocce Pils, an Italian-style pilsner; Bumbleberry's My Jam, a raspberry sour; or Forge, a Russian imperial stout.
8. Lone Pine Brewing Company - Located a snappy one-minute stroll from Goodfire in the same industrial complex, Lone Pine brews some of the most exciting New England IPAs in Portland. For instance, Neon Balloon Dog, a hazy featuring Citra, Ella, and El Dorado that's deliciously piney. And Money Gun, an imperial New England IPA with Talis and BRU-1 for a super hazy that makes it rain in juice. If you know what we mean.
Plus, with many of the city's best food trucks making frequent appearances, you can head to Goodfire and Lone Pine and make it a real day of drinking and eating in Portland.
9. Allagash Brewing Company - Allagash is one of the best breweries in the world. While the Portland brewery has become a national force, with Allagash White recognized as the stereotypical gateway drug to "craft." A visit to the Forest City taproom is a must. Sample the brews that don't make it beyond the brewery and pick up rare bottles to bring home with you. Allagash might not be the sexiest brewery on this list, but they've proven their excellence time and time again.
Plus, we're thrilled to partner with Allagash to bring you an exclusive VIP experience at Beers With(out) Bears. This is the Bad & Boujee of VIP experiences, including exclusive VIP-only beers and bite pairings from Allagash Brewing. Plus, 4.5 hours of unlimited beer sampling, early admission one hour before the public, access to an exclusive VIP section, and more.
Pioneers in more ways than one, Allagash is committed to supporting women in brewing and beer. A strong female-led marketing, sales, events, HR, and front-of-house team helps run the day-to-day operations of the brewery. And in the past, brewers such as Emily Powers have been instrumental in bringing Allagash beers to life.
Rising Tide Brewing Company is a family-owned craft brewery anchoring Portland's vibrant East Bayside neighborhood. Specializing in artisanal, hand-crafted ales brewed in small batches, Rising Tide has owner and Director of Operations Heather Sanborn at the helm. Under her careful direction, Rising Tide has lifted a lot of boats (i.e. beers) around Vacationland.
In that same vein, you'll find a tap list with a plethora of styles all giving a nod to the brewery's boating heritage. For example, Ishmael, the brewery's flagship American copper ale. Or Spinnaker, a hefeweizen. Even the brewery's IPAs have sea legs: Zephyr is a balanced IPA while Mountainside goes over to the hazy, juice side.
Whatever you order here, prepare to sit back, relax, and be rowed to beer bliss.
Editor's Note: Heather and Rising Tide will be joining Hop Culture at its fifth annual Beers With(out) Beards on Sat. April 9th, 2022, at Brick South in Portland, ME.
Looking for more state- or city-based craft beer guides? Check out the Travel section at Hopculture.com to see their recommendations for the best places to visit across the country, from "The 11 Best Breweries in Chicago" to "The 7 Best Breweries in Los Angeles."